China Tang at The Dorchester is the latest and greatest addition to the Tang dynasty, owned by renowned restauranteur David Tang. The oriental-art-deco dining room is hidden amongst the perfumed, pink corridors of London’s most revered hotel and houses formidable kitchen resources serving world-class Cantonese cuisine. The interior is effortlessly cool, the service is exceptional and the food is out of this world.
We enter through the lobby of The Dorchester, avoiding the line of people waiting outside the private entrance from Park Lane. As we’re escorted through the mystical maze of oriental-art-deco design, we can’t help but imagine the hectic restaurants and bars of 1930’s Shanghai – the ones which owner David Tang tried so desperately to model China Tang upon. Monogrammed tablecloths decorate the dozens of tables and silver chopsticks are laid upon each place setting. A waiter wearing a white trouser suit glides into view, providing us with menu’s and requesting drink preferences before ordering. There’s a sense of funds unbounded with opulence around every corner – peanuts are served in yellow jade bowls, rich wood infests the bar and two birdcage chandeliers worth £38,000 each are displayed upon arrival.
The menu has everything from dim-sum to whole suckling pork and luxurious lobster. We start with the classics; sesame prawn toast, spring rolls, chicken satay and a dish they name prawn cannelloni – a particular favourite of ours from the night. Flavours are fresh and impactful and the gelatinous ”skin” that encapsulates the prawn cannelloni is of perfect thickness. The dim-sum selection is outstanding – of which the Shanghai dumplings are a highlight. Box after box of dim-sum arrives on our table, piled high into a Jenga Esque tower, each as equally delicious as the last.
The star of the show is the Peking duck served in three courses; as pancakes, as soup and as a stir-fry. The whole bird is brought to your table on a silver platter, displayed in all it’s glossy, mahogany glory. The duck is then expertly carved in front of your eyes and placed into the middle of the table, accompanied by freshly made pancakes and home-made plum sauce – an absolutely delicious alternative to the shop-bought stuff. Every bite of the pancake is another piece of crispy skin and sumptuous roast meat with a fresh, strong taste. When done right, like this, Peking duck is a far cry from the greasy, fibrous strands of fatty duck we so often find in the local takeaway. The duck is quite superb and a dish we would happily devour again.
The next two stages of the dish involve a steaming soup with clear, golden stock and shredded, stir-fried duck and bean sprouts. The star of the show is priced at a hefty £48 for the three courses, but it’s utterly indulgent and cannot be missed when visiting this authentic oriental restaurant. We don’t taste the puddings, just a selection of exotic fruits to wash down that ”full to the brim” feeling. The fruit is varied and includes combinations of dragon fruit, papaya, pineapple and melon – all of which make an ideal finale to a wonderful meal.
Visit www.chinatanglondon.co.uk to make your booking at London’s top Chinese restaurant.
53 Park Lane
London, W1K 1QA